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Outreach Symposium 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Outreach Symposium

On Saturday, October 22, we held the MD/PhD Outreach Symposium, a day-long conference for high school and undergraduate students to learn about the dual degree program. We had over 150 attendees, ranging from high school freshmen to college seniors (and some parents) from 20 institutions. We were thrilled that there was so much interest in the community for this event.

Our own MSTP director, Kerry O’Banion, MD/PhD, started the day with a talk about the basics: What is an MD/PhD program? Next, three student speakers, Keshov Sharma MS2, Nguyen Mai G4, and Andrew Shubin CC3, told us their stories of how they chose their career paths. In addition, they gave insight into the life of an MD/PhD student at various stages of training. Dr. O’Banion returned to the stage for an informative session on MD/PhD admissions. Finally, two students showcased their research. Jimmy Zhang, G3, presented on the development of new therapeutics to treat acute myocardial infarctions, aka “new heart attack drugs.” Next, Irina Lerman presented on the role of infiltrating immune cells in prostate cancer. The morning ended with a small group “Problem Based Learning” session, where the attendees had the opportunity to discuss and reason through a clinical scenario. Trainees in the program and conference attendees were able to mingle at lunch, where several research posters were presented.

The keynote address was delivered by Jason Mendler, MD/PhD, and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, and a graduate of University of Rochester’s MSTP, Class of ’05. Dr. Mendler spoke of his journey to becoming a physician scientist, and how he integrates research and patient care into a fulfilling career. The Symposium concluded with several Question and Answer panels, a message from our American Physician Scientist Association (APSA) representative, and a raffle. 


MSTP Associate Director Marc Halterman, MD, PhD Awarded $2.5 million DOD Grant

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

photo of soldier carrying his rifle in the desert

 A $2.3 million Department of Defense grant will help neuroscientists develop new treatments for the emergency room and the battlefield.  The research will focus on the development of new therapies that could help protect brain and other at risk organs following a trauma, heart attack, or stroke.

“While we have made significant progress in our ability to restore blood flow after stroke or cardiac arrest, the medical community does not have drugs at its disposal to prevent the secondary damage that occurs after these events,” said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D., the principal investigator of the study. “This grant will further our research on a promising class of drugs that possess both anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties that we believe will be suitable for use in both military and emergency conditions.”

Read More: MSTP Associate Director Marc Halterman, MD, PhD Awarded $2.5 million DOD Grant

Conventional Radiation Therapy May Not Protect Healthy Brain Cells

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Photo demo of conventional radiation therapy

A new study shows that repeated radiation therapy used to target tumors in the brain may not be as safe to healthy brain cells as previously assumed. The findings, which appear in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, show that the treatment also kills important support cells in the brain and may cause as much, if not more damage, than single dose radiation therapy.

“This study suggests that conventional repeated radiation treatments offer no significant benefit to brain tumor patients,” said Kerry O’Banion, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neuroscience and lead author of the study. “It also shows that certain cell populations in the brain are vulnerable to radiation and this may help explain why so many brain cancer patients experience cognitive problems after treatment.”

Read More: Conventional Radiation Therapy May Not Protect Healthy Brain Cells

Medical Scientist Training Program students earn two travel awards to attend inaugural joint physician scientist meeting

Friday, April 22, 2016

Six MD/PhD students from the University of Rochester traveled to Chicago on April 15–17 to attend the inaugural joint meeting of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA), American Society for Clinical Investigators (ASCI), and American Association of Physicians (AAP), at the Fairmont at Millennium Park. APSA is an organization dedicated to the development of clinician trainees pursuing careers in research, and ASCI and AAP are organizations comprised of distinguished physician scientists. While APSA has held its meeting in conjunction with ASCI and AAP in recent years, the 12th Annual Meeting of APSA represents the first year where all three organizations have officially joined forces.

On Friday morning, APSA Local Chapter President Kyle Koster presented the accomplishments of Rochester’s fledgling APSA chapter at the annual APSA business meeting. Koster’s and colleagues' efforts toward integrating Rochester's physician-scientist trainee community were rewarded with a Local Chapter Travel Award. In addition, Saturday’s program was punctuated by two poster sessions at which Andrew Cox, Alison Gaylo, Andrew Shubin, and Katherine Herman presented their graduate work. Notably, Herman’s work on understanding the role of Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp) in the development of atopic-like eczema earned her an Abstract Travel Award to attend the meeting.

The meeting proceeded with an incredible array of distinguished investigators from many fields, and industry-academic partnerships were highlighted as investigators collaborated to move treatments into the clinic. Moreover, APSA held several panels on issues salient to today’s trainees, including policy issues, postgraduate opportunities outside of academia, and publishing ethics. On Sunday, students met with current residency directors to learn more about transitioning to residencies and fellowships. Overall, Rochester’s trainees were impressed with the scientific, career development, and networking opportunities for trainees at this meeting.